Benefits of Pre-Terminated Solutions – 1
Pre-terminated solutions for cabling systems have been around since the beginning of computing, well before the inception of Structured Cabling. Early IBM System 36 and 38 computers used to be connected to its peripherals by way of factory terminated twin-ax assemblies, very similar to the ones still used today for 40 & 100Gb connectivity within the Data Centre.
The use of pre-terminated solutions fall into a few key areas, one as previously mentioned is the Data Centre and the other increasingly used option is in commercial office fit-outs, as the project timescales are constantly being reduced by the competitive nature of the market.
Another area that we are starting to witness is the use of pre-fabrication within the construction industry. By that we mean not only the construction, but the partial fit-out of wall sections. This method of construction is increasingly popular for Hospitals and Schools, and involves levels of first and second fix being done in a factory and the completed wall craned into position onsite and effectively ‘plugged in’. This includes not only the voice and data cabling but other systems such as electrical and plumbing and in the case of Hospitals, gas services as well to the ‘bed heads’.
By way of continuing to innovate, We has continued to keep abreast of these developments by producing new ways of deploying both Copper and Fibre Pre-terminated solutions.
This is the one area that is very competitive, not only the cost but also the delivery schedules required to satisfy the very quick turn-around of the modern Data Centre deployment. It is not uncommon for a DC operator to want to turn an empty data hall into a fully functioning and revenue generating suite in a matter of weeks, time is money, and as soon as the decision is made they want to start earning revenue.
Therefore the time pressure quite simply dictates that pretermination is essential for the rapid commissioning of new data halls. This involves both copper and fibre connectivity, MPO/MTP fibre is fast becoming the de-facto system for both single and multimode connectivity in this space due to ease of use and speed, not to mention the high density.
Copper Pre-terminated cassettes have been traditionally restricted to Category 6 and below due to the potential problems of Alien Cross Talk. Category 6A is usually installed by way of individual screened jacks, that are then mounted into patch frames. These assemblies typically involve harness links from switches to a central patching field and then further assemblies that emanate from there to provide connectivity to
the cabinets, both server and storage. On top of this there is sometimes the need for direct inter-cabinet links.
One of the traditional drawbacks of copper is the density that can be achieved, especially within the main patching field. The use of traditional outlets and patch management bars every 2U can be very restrictive and waste a lot of space. To get around this manufacturers have come up with a wide range of angled options, from angled V style panels, standard outlets mounted at an angle within a flat panel, an angled modular panel that houses a standard presentation outlet in groups of 6 etc.
All of these options have one drawback or another, some need the front profiles to be moved back to accommodate the angle of the V style panel, with the traditional outlet mounted at an angle, the problem appears at the rear with the cables having to crossover.
Some company has come up with a unique approach by having the front presentation of the jack itself at 45 degrees, this means the patch cables lie flat at the front of the panel with standard presentation at the rear, meaning the profiles do not need to be adjusted and the dressing of the cables within the cabinet can be optimised.
The image above shows a main patching field deployed within a DC, that is fully patched in a 45U 2post frame containing 960 outlets, almost 50% more than a traditional approach, all of which were pre-terminated and labelled off-site and then just plugged in and tested.
Whilst traditional termination of fibre is still used, increasingly using a fusion splicer within a DC is mainly restricted to rectifying faults. Almost all fibre assemblies are pre-terminated whether that is conventional construction fibre that is terminated at both ends with SC or LC connectors, or more commonly used, MPO/MTP 12 fibre assemblies that are used as inter-cabinet links (Trunk Cables) which are then connected to cassettes housing the fan-out cables to LC presentation.
Each approach has seen a ‘step-phase’ in the time to deploy. Using conventional and fusion splicing pigtails within patch panels, can take days if not weeks, pre-terminated conventional fibre, can take days, whereas the time taken to deploy MPO/MTP can be measured in just a day or so, if not hours.
To be Continued:
Benefits of Pre-Terminated Solutions – 2